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Questions to Ask an Accountant When Starting a New Business

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Starting a business isn’t easy. There are many aspects to it, including operations, finance strategy, sales, and marketing, among others. But business owners don’t have to do all this themselves; it helps to hire professionals and consult with experts to make sure your new venture runs smoothly. This includes hiring an accountant, who can give you the necessary accounting advice for startups. They can answer questions like “How should I structure my business?”, “What are my tax obligations?”, and “How do I know if my business is doing well?”, to set up a business designed for financial success.

Should I Hire an Accountant Before Starting a Business?

Many business owners hesitate to hire an accountant because of the cost involved. To learn more about this, you can read more in our article on the cost of an accountant for small business. But an accountant can assist businesses in creating plans to navigate the financial aspects of operating a company. They can also help business owners prevent making rookie mistakes, especially concerning money management and law compliance.

An accountant can also be a key asset when a business wants to finalize its business plan and structure, set SMART goals, forecast expenses, obtain business registrations, and set up a financial system. All this insight and guidance is easily worth paying a few thousand dollars a year for!

Key Questions to Ask an Accountant When Starting a New Business

After figuring out how to hire an accountant, it’s time to get working with them. To someone that is new to finances, this can be quite challenging. You might wonder, where to begin? Just be guided by your goals, and ask the questions that will help you build a smooth-sailing business. Here are some to get you started.

What Records Should I Keep?

You must keep track of your financial records to balance books, measure financial health, raise funds, and comply with tax regulations. These include:

  • Financial statements
  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Payroll information
  • Receipts
  • Contracts
  • Business licenses and permits
  • Insurance documents

Check with your accountant on which numbers and documents you have to pay extra attention to—and for how long you have to keep them on hand.

It helps to store these records as several copies, both physical and digital, for easy access and safekeeping.

How Should I Structure My Business?

One of the first decisions you have to make when starting a business is its structure. Should it be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation? If you’re not familiar with these terms and how they can affect how your business is run—and what it means to your finances—you can ask an accountant for the details to make an informed decision.

Additionally, it’s good to have an accountant to check if your business model is viable in the first place. He or she can help you figure out what needs to be improved so you don’t encounter problems after launching.

What Are My Financing Options?

There are plenty of financing options out there. You can choose to dip into your own savings or go straight to fundraising—there’s no right or wrong here. But an accountant can help walk you through the pros and cons of each, to help you choose the best one for you.

What Are My Tax Obligations and Opportunities?

An accountant deals with most of your business’ tax-related tasks, but that doesn’t mean that you should just leave it all to them. Ask them how you can help provide the information that they need, as well as what you can do to better manage your bookkeeping.

Having to pay for taxes might feel like a huge loss, so check with your accountant to see if you’re eligible for certain credits and tax deductions to keep the numbers down.

How Do I Know if My Business Is Doing Well?

It can be confusing to read numbers if you’re not well-versed with financial statements. Though it might be tempting to leave all the analysis to the professionals, it’s good to know a few basics so you can get a better picture of your business’s financial status. Ask your accountant how to measure if your business is doing well—what numbers to look out for, what trends signify profit or loss, etc.

What Should I Consult With You About Regularly?

Your relationship with an accountant doesn’t stop after your business launches. You may find you need them more than ever once the actual numbers start rolling in. If you already have a system in place, the check-ins might be less frequent, but ask them what concerns you need to bring up regularly with them, in order to be in the loop about your inflow and outflow of cash, as well as any new developments in local or national regulations that might affect your taxes.

I Already Have a Business—Is It Too Late to Hire an Accountant?

It’s best to hire an accountant when starting a new business, but it’s never too late to add one to your team—no matter how long it’s been since your business has launched. They can offer a lot of benefits at any point in a business’s life because they can help you improve your financial systems (such as Power Automate), ensure that you’re operating legally, and push you toward success. From accountants to NinjaTrader programmers, you can find the expert you need on Guru.

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